A few, small changes can make a huge impact on how potential buyers view your home.
Most homes that are for sale fall into two main categories:
1. Full of life - lots of personal effects, pet/kid toys and accoutrements, personal pictures
2. Stark and empty, as the homeowner has moved on - mentally or physically - from the home
There are opportunities for improvement in both scenarios. Invite a good friend over ***who will be candid***, grab a roll of blue painters tape, a clipboard and pen, along with a couple of glasses of wine, and do a walk through and around together.
Clipboard and pen
Blue painters tape
Can of WD40
Phone to take pictures as a visual note
Stand outside the home, in the driveway or the street in front of the home, and talk about the features that stand out. Write them down. Also note any features that need improvement. If you don't have fresh mulch, this goes a long way towards sprucing up the front yard.
A few inexpensive annuals, even succulents that are bright green, add a pop of color outside.
Is anything on the front of the home warn or in need of cleaning?
Some homes have an entrance that is not traditional; for example when the entryway is on the lower level, or nondescript. Add a couple of pots with succulents (that will grow in most climates) that don't take a lot of water, and a welcome sign, or something that makes the nondescript entry way more inviting.
Notice all of the doors as you walk around the home, and spray the hinges with WD-40 should any of them, or the storm doors squeak. Spray into the locks while you are at it - you'll be amazed how much better the doors feels!
As you notice any scuffs or dirt on the walls, wipe with the damp rag as you go - 80% will be gone immediately.
Personal pictures? Make a list of the ones to take down. Remove as many as possible.
Are pet and kid paraphernalia scattered around? You do live in your home after all, so invest in a pretty basket or storage bin from TJ Maxx or the like to corral such items.
Is the kitchen littered with things on the countertops? Unless you use an item daily, put it away. It can come back out when you move into your next dream home. Invest in some simple white dishtowels and cloths, so that the lime green and orange cheap sponges and the like are not scattered around. Do you have miss matched china on show? Invest in some simple white crockery.
Let's move onto the bathrooms. Do you have builder basic grade mirrors with those plastic catches that have seen better days? Measure the mirror, and head back to TJ Maxx and more for a framed mirror. For around $50 you can completely change the look of your bathroom. It's hard to beat their instore mirrors, however there's a nice selection at Wayfair. Look for ones with a soft metallic finish to really spruce up your room. If you have 60s basic oak cabinets, add nickel or brushed bronze hardware for around $20 to give them a modern look.
Add a white waffle shower curtain and take down any patterns. Buy some white fluffy towels while you are at it, along with some pretty soaps that you can leave out when showings happen, that will give a nice scent to the room.
If you are using a room for something other than it's purpose, consider staging for its true purpose. Remember that most people do not have the vision to see through what is there.
Wallpaper? Need I say more? If it is well glued down, consider using a primer and then painting the surface. Same goes for dark 70's style panelling. My favorite go to for whites is the Elle report here.
My fave is Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore.
Whites can be VERY different; for a more modern feel, or traditional with marble or neutrals, try China White by Pratt & Lambert. (below)
Overall, clear out the clutter, and get ready to move. I cannot explain the exact cause, however, over my years of selling over 1,200 homes something has become clear. When you mentally let go of your property, it is 10X more likely to sell. Many people are much more attached to the memories of a home than the actual bricks and mortar. If this is the case, consider an Allstar Memories Video. If you cannot afford storage, pack up as much of your items as possible. Most of us don't use 80% of what we have more than once a year! Women are notorious for wearing only 15% of their wardrobe. Look it up! Once you get mentally ready, your home falls into the next two camps:
1. You want to keep it as it looks so nice.
2. You are excited to move onto your next chapter, and your spruced up home will now sell.
Finally, If you have a home that doesn't have kids or pets around, consider staging the guest beds as if you were a hotel. Fluffy towels and a pretty soap on the bed, with a fluffy guest robe! Think about how you feel when you walk into that high end hotel room, and how relaxing and inviting it feels!
Happy staging and selling ;-)